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The Limnio Grape


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About Limnio

(Synonyms: Kalabaki, Kalambaki, Kalampaki, Lembiotiko, Lemnia, Lemnio—see the discussion below about “Limniona”.)

Background

Map showing Lemnos

Limnio is a red-wine grape originating on the Greek island of Límnos, and not found outside Greece. It was long conflated with Limniona, but DNA analysis has now clearly shown them to be two distinct grape types. Limnio originated on Límnos, but is now also grown on the mainland, in Macedonia and Thrace; some say those wines are superior to the island wines.

Limnio grapes are late-ripening and thus tend to produce juice with high sugar levels, which in turn would lead to high alcohol level in the finished wine. Moreover, if harvested late, the juice also contains certain phenols that tend to impart a definite herbaceous quality to the wines. Thus, the grapes are often harvested relatively early.

The resultant wines are typically large, full-bodied, and strongly flavored, having at least moderate tannins and acidity, and a notably mineral nose, which appears to be their single most distinctive quality, followed by herbaceousness, then dark red-berry overtones. Limnio is very often blended, sometimes with other Greek reds but increasingly (and, arguably, deplorably) with “international” reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.

Factoid: If little known today, Limnio is nonetheless storied. It is widely believed—a few scoffers notwithstanding—that it is the Limnia remarked on by Aristotle (who more than once mentioned its herbaceous flavors of oregano), Hesiod, and Polydeuctes.

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Some Descriptions of Limnio Wines

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Some Limnios to Try

Regrettably, there are currently no Limnio-based wines under $20 that are carried by more than one or at most two retailers (at least as listed in the search engines), and even of those there are very few. You can see if anything new has recently turned up at either Wine Searcher or 1000 Corks by clicking the links in this sentence.



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This page was last modified on Monday, 23 March 2020, at 3:52 pm Pacific Time.